NOW exposes "W." Bush's record on women's rights
National Organization for Women
September 2000

To commemorate Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of women winning the right to vote 80 years ago, the National Organization for Women is beginning our Bush Whacker campaign. This campaign aims to take away the moderate mask George W. Bush is and wearing to reveal his abysmal record on women's rights.

George W. Bush's "no-litmus-test" choice of Dick Cheney as his running mate is clear confirmation of the policies he would promote and the nominations he would make to an already closely divided U.S. Supreme Court, if he were president. With Bush naming Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas as the Supreme Court justices he most respects, I shudder to think what would happen to the fragile balance on the court, which has had so many recent 5 to 4 decisions on issues we care about. Bush supports what our opponents call a "partial-birth" abortion ban, an abortion procedures ban that even this conservative Supreme Court found too deceptively written and too dangerous to women's health to be constitutional. Cheney's extremist position mirrors the Republican Platform position, adopted with Bush's blessing, which calls for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Cheney and the party are on record against the right to abortion even in cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the life or health of the woman. But Cheney goes further; in the House he also voted against family planning funding.

Don't mistake Bush's or Cheney's positions against reproductive rights for support of already-born children. Bush's state is dead last in the percent of children without health coverage and next to last in women without health coverage. Cheney voted against funding for Head Start, school lunch programs and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. Cheney also opposed prescription drug coverage and long-term home care under Medicare.

Despite big talk at the Republican National Convention of a commitment to education, Bush's Texas ranks last in teacher's salaries and benefits. Cheney voted to eliminate the Department of Education.

Although the GOP White House hopefuls both claim to be avid outdoorsmen, apparently they are not concerned with how dirty the great outdoors is. Bush's state is worst in the nation for pollution. Cheney was one of only a handful of members of Congress to vote no on the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Cheney now claims it was the deficit that caused him to join a few other members of the House in opposing funding of about $1 billion a year for Head Start. But he had no similar concerns in casting his vote for a tax cut costing $870 billion in its first five years, including hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare for oil companies, utilities, railroads and other business interests.

That makes him a perfect partner for Bush, who has proposed an upper-income tax cut with a price tag of more than $1.9 trillion over the next decade. Only 2 percent is targeted to low- and middle-income families' tax relief. . . Which reminds me of another way this ticket is well matched. Both Bush and Cheney went to Yale. Both were indifferent students. And, both grew up to become Texas tycoons in the oil business.

Texas comes in last in the quality of criminal defense for the poor and first in executions. And, Bush, the self-proclaimed compassionate conservative, mocked condemned prisoner Karla Faye Tucker, whimpering "Please don't kill me!" Bush then complained the comment was taken out of context. What possible context could excuse such callousness?

When you compare Bush's and Cheney's promises for the nation with their abysmal records, they trickle down to nothing. They plan to ride into the White House on the Sweet Talk Express. Well, think again. Bush and Cheney are not compassionate conservatives. They are ruthless reactionaries. NOW's Bush-Whacker campaign is already organizing across the country to make sure that every voter knows it. And while the candidates play tug-of-war for the crucial women's vote, women voters will look at the cold, hard truth and realize the threat that George W. Bush, if elected, poses to the nation.

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